It is time to finish building Stalino so we can get the campaign going! I wanted the plaster on my houses to be in a bad shape. It looked like that on my reference pictures and it will give an nice 3D feeling to the buildings. As I built the walls in foam-board I just took a hobby knife and carved away in places where the plaster had given way!
Then I took a medium filler with some water and applied it to the walls with an small flat stick, leaving the places where I made holes in the foam-board without filler. I think it turned out well, The filler gives a good structure and it was quite easy to apply, very easy if you don´t make any holes that you then have to look out for!
The roofs will be made out of planks, and I will make them with balsa wood. To give the roof the look of repairs I painted the balsa sheets (1.5 mm) first and them glued them on the basic roof structure in foam board. This also helps you to not get PVA-glue on the balsa before painting as it really disturbes my very water heavy painting style. I treat the balsa with the back-side of a hobby-knife before painting as the "wash-style" paint I use (black hobby-paint, with much water) applies well, and in a couple of second it looks lika a wall/roof/floor! I painted the balsa in two stages and let the first dry before the second turn was done, in this way I achived a nice water/moisture-damaged look.
Then I did some more balsa work to finish the roofs with barge-boards and so on. I used 1.5 mm balsa here as well, but it looked a bit rough so I had to trim them thinner with a hobby knife after gluing them to the roof... unnecessary extra work as I could have used 1 or 0.5 mm balsa in the first place!
Then it was time for one plank floor. The other got dirt-floors as it was faster, a little too time consuming to get the balsa sheets in the right size for the rooms after the walls are built - if you want plank-floors, which looks really nice, make them before the walls are put in place. I also added door frames and windows.
As this campaign is set for Stalino, which is located in Ukraine - we had to get some sun-flowers. We got them from Woodland Scenics who sells railroad modeling stuff. To plant them firmly I made a little ball of milli-put to stick them into and then glue them in. After I washed them with some watered down brown to get away from the plastic finish most model train stuff have.
After this I was pleased! Something beautiful in the horrible year of 1941... It is said that many Ukranians survived on sunflower-seeds because that was the only food that the Germans left to them. But then one of my fellow gamers came to visit and with the comment of "Very cute, but don´t they look like gigantic buttercups!?" I knew something had to be done. So I trimmed the petals to a more sun-flower like apperance with a sharp scissors, which was a pain as they were already firmly stuck in the base!
The Stalino campaign is approaching at a break-neck speed, at least that what it feels like. To be able to track all the platoons and support options that will move around, we're making a very basic map to place chits on. As the platoons go back and forth, we can just move the chits instead of writing everything down on paper.
I also got a list over the June-Dec 1941 ToE of the 4th Mountain Division from Micro Mark Army Lists through Wargame Vault. We plan for the division to be part of the Axis forces in the campaign, but there's no CoC list for Mountain Rifle Platoons as far as I know. So I used the books I bought and the ToE list to try to figure out a reasonable platoon list for CoC. In the end it seemed to be basically the same as the Barbarossa German Rifle Platoon, but with a seemingly obligatory anti-tank rifle (the PzB39).
I've never used anti-tank rifles in CoC, so I'm honestly not sure if it will be worth it. At least it gave me a reason to start converting up a Gebirgsjäger Panzerbüchse 39 team. Will it be finished in time?
The Stalino campaign is approaching rapidly, and we're all scrambling to put together terrain, soldiers and vehicles for it. I just finished my first squad of the converted Gebirgsjäger. I noticed that the Perry Miniatures plastic minis have a slightly shallower, less exaggerated details - especially for their faces. This means that with my normal way to paint, they ended up a bit flat. But overall I'm happy with them, and especially that they ended up looking distinctively different from our "normal" German infantry.
I will try to improve with the next squad. Maybe stronger highlights on the skin areas? Either way, rumours has it that one of the Axis forces in the terrain will be Panzergrenadiers, so it's suitable to add some more transportation options. Here's a Tamiya 1/48 kit, a Sd. Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D. This version is way too early for 1941, but frankly, I'm not the person that can spot different versions of Hanomags at an arm's length, so I'm ok with it.
I'm trying to learn to use pigment powders to get a better mud effect on the tracks and wheels. Looking at color reference photos, it seems quite common for the mud to dry around the wheels in a very light, almost sandy brown. I was trying to recreate that, and thought I don't think it was a complete success, I learned something from the process.
The kit itself was quite simple, and it comes with a bit of extra stuff to put on where you like. It does look a little bit strange to have it without crew at all, so if we're talking about future unneccessary vanity projects, I can imagine getting a second Hanomag with seated passengers. But for now, it will do just fine.
I still have a half painted Opel Blitz truck and a Sd. Kfz. 232 waiting to be finished, so there'll be plenty of opportunity to practice!
WW2 Campaign Blog
This blog follows the second Chain of Command club campaign, set in the intense fighting over Stalino in October 1941.